Horse riding is an imported sport in Uganda, and the number of those getting on horseback is slowly increasing.
The passionate Director of Nile Horseback Safaris, Natalie McComb a New Zealand-born equestrian champion is encouraging the game.
“Some of them had never seen horses, none of them had ever ridden, so we taught everybody – all our staff – from the very beginning how to care and train and ride these amazing animals,” she said
Everyone is welcome at the Nile horseback safaris, whether they are amateurs or they are elite riders. Saida Athman recently picked interest in horse riding. “I love nature, to begin with, and a horse is a very beautiful animal and it connects so well with humans. So I wanted to try it,” she said.
A 30 minutes ride goes for 20 dollars, but one must rack up hours of practice to learn the basics. “The first step is for trotting but you can do cantering without trotting. So if you ride like five times, you get to know how to ride a horse, ” said Jeremiah Tumukunde the guide.
Here things get more thrilling with the water access crossing River Nile on a horse.
According to Raziah Athman, Africanews correspondent, “A horse can give many forms of activities but very few Ugandans have mastered the skill of horse riding. It'll take time to develop it as a sport especially because it's expensive and there are very few horses to meet the demand of those who would interested.”
Despite the beautiful weather in the Nile, there are other challenges that come with ensuring that the horses are well taken care of and this comes with a cost.
“And because of the lovely climate in Uganda, it is also not something horses are used to, so we have to be very careful with the care of the horses. Horses are expensive. They are expensive to buy, expensive to feed and all of the equipment has to come from overseas because obviously nothing is made within the country. It is a very specialized sport,” said McComb.
Some of the horses have made it to Kenya for international competitions. The recently launched equestrian association is trying to organize the discipline and encourage participation but for now only those with the money and time can take part in horse riding.